London-listed operator 888 Holdings has reported that profit before tax for the first half of 2019 decreased by 63%. The firm earned a pre-tax profit of $22.2 million in the six months to June 30, 2019, down from $60.1 million during the same period the previous year. The news caused its share price to fall by nearly 9%. However, revenue increased 2% year-on-year to $273.2 million, while sports betting handle at 888 Sport was up by an impressive 19%. The group said it was particularly pleased with its performance in the UK market. “888 has delivered a solid performance in the first half of 2019,” said Itai Pazner, the firm’s new chief executive. “The group’s business in the UK has continued its recovery, which was underpinned by exciting product innovation as well as 888’s successful casual customer focus. The board continues to believe that 888 is very well positioned for the future as a result of the group’s diversification across products and markets, product leadership, and first-class team.”
An Irish punter said he grew so bored while watching Mick McCarthy’s men take on Bulgaria in their recent Euro 2020 qualifier that he decided to play Paddy Power’s Lucky Halloween slot instead. He staked €4 on a spin and ended up becoming a millionaire, winning a €1,555,326.42 jackpot. “The Ireland v Bulgaria football game was on and the first half was dire,” said the unnamed punter. “I was watching it on my phone so I went onto Paddy Power and thought I’d give it a go. I know it’s probably the standard response, but I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. I sent a screenshot to my brother and asked, is that €1.5 million or €1.5 thousand? He replied, ‘that’s 1.5 million bro!’”
Ladbrokes has become the new sponsor of the first Grade 1 race of the jumps season, which takes place at Down Royal. The race will now be known as the Ladbrokes Champion Chase after Ladbrokes signed a six-figure deal – the largest in Down Royal’s history – to sponsor its November Festival. The Ladbrokes Champion Chase will now carry prize money of €140,000. Last year’s winner was the highly rated Road To Respect, while previous champions include Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Kauto Star, Don Cossack and Looks Like Trouble. The 3 mile chase will be held on November 2 this year. “Ladbrokes has a long and proud association with top-class horseracing and we are thrilled to be embarking on this exciting new sponsorship of the November festival of racing at Down Royal,” said Ladbrokes’ head of PR, Nicola McGeady.
Football clubs are not doing enough to combat gaming addiction, according to a new survey marking the partnership between GambleAware and the Football Supporters’ Association. It found that only 10% of fans feel their clubs are doing their bit to promote safer gambling in football. “It’s clear fans want their clubs to do more on educating their supporters about the risks of gambling and alongside GambleAware we’ll be pushing clubs, particularly those with prominent gambling sponsors, to do better,” said FSA chief executive Kevin Miles. Isthmian League club Lewes FC have decided to wear shirts warning about the dangers of gambling this season. The Gambling With Lives charity will be promoted on their shirts until October. “Sponsorship of football by the gambling industry is at saturation point and we need to recognise the harm this has caused to young adults and children and ask ourselves whether the football world was better or worse when there was no gambling advertising in it,” said club director John Peel.